It’s a rare occurrence that I get to see a comic con from an attendee’s perspective. I prefer to exhibit rather than wander the aisles myself, but I do make the effort if there will be people I’m dying to meet there- exhibiting or attending. To get a feel for the crowd, the buzz, the overall success of the convention, I have to rely on the people I chat with at my booth or table. Most usually say “overwhelming” or just “busy!”. That puts it lightly for what I experienced Saturday at New York Comic Con (or, for you twitterers out there, #NYCC). INSANE was more like it. Or CLAUSTROPHOBIC, or even CALL THE FIRE MARSHALL! Now, I heard Friday and Sunday were pretty busy too, but if you asked anyone how Saturday was, your answer will begin with a
bug-eyed stare, a pause to collect oneself, and end with an exhausted sigh.. even if it’s been a week since the show. It was that packed.
Now personally, I am not one for crowds. I hate having to walk in herds, shuffling along, little baby steps at a time.. to the point where I’m not all that surprised there was a pencil-stabbing incident at San Diego Comic Con this past year. I prefer the friendlier, more casual, small-but-devoted conventions like Baltimore. I’m more likely to stop at a table and check out new stuff if it doesn’t take a full hour to get from Point A to Point B. Finding the room of the panel you wanted to see was so hard, it makes you question just HOW MUCH you’d be crushed if you missed it. But, maybe that’s just me.
New York Comic Con is one I’ll never go back to.. as an attendee. If I go back, and I am hoping I do, I will have a table there.. probably split with some buddies, and utilize that many people being right there… with my product to sell! All in all, this trip was about meeting some close fellow webcomic friends, like Tom Racine of Tall Tale Radio, Irma Erikson of Imy, Marc LaPierre of Spooky Doofus, Mike Witmer of Pinkerton, the rest of the guys at 3rd World Studios, and Comics Guru John McCarthy. And in that respect it was a BLAST! I did manage to catch a panel late Saturday- a live drawing and discussion by Joe Kubert, which was informative, funny, and inspiring. The man is so good, he doesn’t even NEED pencils anymore.
Here are some other thoughts and notes on NYCC, from an attendee’s point of view:
- For anyone planning to attend, I found out that for some bizarre reason booths do NOT come with tables or chairs at this convention. When you pay to exhibit, they basically just give you a little square floor space. A friend of mine even rented a table, and had it stolen the next day! It’s just a tad crazy. However, artist alley exhibitors do get their table and chairs. So, in my opinion… unless you have an easy way to bring a table and chairs, an artist alley table reservation may be more worthwhile. Unless you have the cash to shell out on renting then for whatever insane amount the center charges. Even though artist alley doesn’t have the location and showiness of a booth, it’s the better option for me, next year!
- It’s always good to have a solid crowd at convention. That’s the reason we creators sign up! But I wonder if too big of a crowd is a bad thing. As I mentioned, I’m the type who stresses out over crowds and will not be feeling like browsing when being pushed and shoved out of the way constantly. I would think others are in that boat. Most people I asked who were exhibiting said business was good (despite my theory), but I have to wonder if a slightly-less packed more casual convention is best for the up-and-coming artists like myself to get a foothold.
- If you are attending for 1 day, I would suggest traveling the day prior to get settled and recoup, so you have a fresh start the morning of the convention. I wasted 3 hours of the con because I got into NY just after it started, had to find my way around and drop off bags at the hotel, and spent 2 hours wandering and looking for the people I was supposed to meet up with. (Plus, the crowds made it hard to get ANYWHERE fast)
- …which also leads me to mention- even if you have cell phones: A: it’s LOUD in there, and B: even if you have a good signal, texting and phone calls may not be sent easily with that many people using the network nearby. A prearranged plan or area to meet up at a specified time is the better bet.
- If you’re like me and swear by your iPhone or smartphone, a battery backup might be something good to invest in if you’re a convention-goer. Something in the air at these things sucks the life out of your battery- that, plus he fact that you’re probably texting, calling, and using mapping apps a lot anyway. By 8pm, my phone was basically dead. Good thing I had a regular camera for photo opportunities.
- It’s smart to bring some snack bar type munchies.. or alternatives to typical convention fare if you are health-conscious. Lines to get food may be tremendously long, and sometimes, all you want is to get away from the hysteria for 5 minutes and eat an apple or much some trail mix. Would make life easier if you already had that packed in your con swag bag.
- Finally, wear comfortable shoes, you will be walking your @$$ off.
Now, how about some more pictures from New York! It’s been a long time since I had been there, so I had to take a little walking tour before I jumped on a train back to Philly. Enjoy!